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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  February 27, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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weather is always on >> pelley: tonight, a steadly shooting in a high school cafeteria. police say a student opened fire on classmates in ohio. michelle miller is on the scene. can romney win his home state of michigan? on the eve of the primary, he's neck in neck with santorum. reports from dean reynolds and chip reid. who's to blame for japan nuclear disaster? lucy craft on a scathing new report. and with bullying often a factor in school shootings, elaine quijano with an extraordinary woman on a mission. >> bullying damages you for life and i know because i'm damaged. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. we start tonight with a story
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that sent a chill through parents today-- parents who send their kids to school trusting and hoping that they will be safe. but in one of those schools, a high school in ohio today, the worst happened. the police say a student opened fire on classmates leaving one dead and four others wounded-- two of them in critical condition. it happened at chardon high school, 30 miles south of cleveland. the alleged shooter is a teenage boy said to be in custody tonight. we have late word from law enforcement sources that a day or two ago he told his classmates something of his plans but those classmates didn't take him seriously michelle miller is on the scene tonight. michelle? >> reporter: scott, police are withholding the name of the suspect because he is a juvenile but he is said to be cooperating with authorities and told investigators that he stole the gun from his uncle. >> we have an active shooter at the high school.
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>> reporter: police and terrified parents rushed to the school within minutes of the shooting. >> until you talk to your son or daughter you don't know what's happened. >> reporter: witnesses say the gunman targeted a group of classmates in the school cafeteria. a bullet grazed nate mueller's ear. >> you see glances of your friends laying all over the place, there's blood, there's people screaming, everybody's running in different directions and you're just trying to get out. >> reporter: his friend was killed. the junior was waiting in the cafeteria for a bus to take him to a nearby vocational school where he was studying computer science. >> i saw a kid holding a gun pointing it towards a group of kids and getting ready to press the trigger. >> reporter: this freshman was just ten feet away from the shooting. >> i looked up and he shot two more and it hit a group, hit a kid and he fell and another kid was hiding under the table, took cover. >> reporter: do you remember the look of the gunman's face? >> i never looked at his face.
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i just looked at the gun. i still can't think about it all because it's so scary. >> reporter: police searched the home of the suspect. federal agents are examining the .22-caliber handgun they believe was used. students and parents told us there was a history of bad feelings between the suspect and his victims. the hundreds of parents outside chardon high school wanting to make sure their kids were safe. school superintendent joe burgent. >> i hope every parent, if you haven't hugged and kissed your kid in the last couple days, take that time. >> reporter: the suspect could be arraigned as early as tomorrow and police are sifting through emails and computer files of the suspect hoping to see just how much planning went into the this attack. >> pelley: michelle, thank you very much. we have late details on that suspect. correspondents bob orr and john miller tell us that he comes from a broken home and lives with his grandparents.
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their sources say he told police he was bullied and teased at school and the shooting was in retaliation for that. bullying is often a factor in school shootings and a little bit later in the broadcast, we're going to show you a remarkable woman, jodee blanco, who's trying to end bullying one school at a time. tomorrow is a big day in republican politics. mitt romney is trying to avoid what could be a painful loss in the primary in michigan where he was born and raised and where his father was governor. the latest poll shows the race as tight as can be, romney trailing rick santorum by a single point, 36% to 35%. we have two reports tonight, first dean reynolds with rick santorum, who's been working to get religious conservatives excited about his campaign. dean? >> reporter: scott, rick santorum has been arguing that the practice of religion in this
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country is under attack and that the government and institutions of higher learning are leading the charge. >> now it's the church! people of faith who have no right to the come to the public square and express their points of view. >> reporter: over the past few days, santorum has ridiculed the remarks of john f. kennedy in 1960 when, as a presidential candidate, he sought to assure protestant ministers that a catholic president would not be taking orders from the pope. >> i believe in an america where the separation of church and state is absolute. where no catholic zealot would tell the president, should he be catholic, how to act and no protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. >> very late in my political career i had the opportunity to read the speech and i almost threw up. i don't believe in america where the separation of church and state is absolute. the idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives
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and vision of our country. this is the first amendment. >> reporter: the first amendment to the constitution says congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. but the phrase "separation of church and state" comes from a letter written by president thomas jefferson in 1802 in which he says the first amendment builds a "wall of separation between church and state." abner green is a constitutional scholar at fordham university. >> religious people and religious leaders have every right of freedom of speech as the rest of us. if, however, he means that religious institutions should be able to have some formal role in governance, in legislating or regulating, that's definitely wrong. >> reporter: santorum also argues that colleges and universities weaken religious beliefs while indoctrinating students with liberal ideology. he said this about president obama's goal that all kids go to college. >> what a snob! (laughter) (cheers and applause) there are good decent men and
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women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren't taught by some liberal college professor. >> reporter: but the jobless rate last month for those with just a high school degree was twice as high as for those with college degrees and, scott, santorum himself is a lawyer with three degrees and his two oldest children are enrolled in college as well. >> pelley: dean, thank you very much. mitt romney is pinning his hopes for a home-state win on the economy. chip reid is in royal oak, michigan, tonight, chip? >> reporter: well, good evening, scott. mitt romney has spent a lot of time in recent days arguing that he's more conservative than rick santorum but today on the final full day of campaigning here in michigan he returned to his bread and butter, creating jobs. >> well, this sure has been fun these last ten days or so. we started off about, what, 15 points down in the polls, now
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we're leading in the polls. thanks, you guys! appreciate the support! >> reporter: mitt romney today sounded increasingly confident that he will win in michigan. he's trying to keep this battle on his own turf, the economy, where he believes rick santorum is most vulnerable. >> senator santorum is a nice guy but he's never had a job in the private sector. he's worked as a lobbyist and an elected official, and that's fine. but if the issue of the day is the economy, i think to create jobs it helps to have a guy as president who's had a job. and i have. (cheers and applause) >> reporter: romney was incorrect when he said santorum never had a job in the private sector. as a private practice lawyer, santorum counseled large corporations. romney also raised questions with an offhand remark this weekend while visiting the daytona 500, a trip intended to show his ability to connect with ordinary people, he once again drew attention to his wealth when he was asked if he follows nascar. >> about as closely as some of the... not as closely as the most ardent fans but i have great friends that are nascar team owners.
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>> reporter: if romney does manage to win here, scott, it should give him a boost next week on super tuesday and he needs a boost because he's trailing in some of the polls in some key super tuesday states. >> reporter: chip, thank you. the voting there and in arizona is tomorrow. also covering the battle for michigan is our cbs news political director john dickerson. john, of all 50 states you would think that michigan would be a sure thing for romney. why is he tied there? >> well, you know, romney does have a lot of advantages here. he has a better organization, more money and he has family ties. in fact, the building on my right is named after his father, the former governor. voters say they like romney because they think he can beat barack obama but there's a segment of the party that wants something more, a candidate who talks to their passions and who, in fact, can answer their fears and that's what rick santorum does. we're seeing in michigan the first direct contest between two divisions in the republican
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party, the establishment represented by romney and the more populist conservatives, that's who's backing rick santorum, the evangelicals, the tea party voters, who are the passion of the party. there's not a split in that vote here as there has been in other states because newt gingrich is not running, if romney can pull off a victory in michigan, that's when the party will continue and these doubts about him will persist, even when he goes on to other states where he doesn't have the same advantages. >> pelley: john, thank you. there is no end to the violence in afghanistan after copies of the islamic holy book were found burned in an incinerator on a u.s. military base. a suicide bomber attacked a u.s. base in eastern afghanistan today. nine afghans were killed and four members of the u.s. military were wounded. over the weekend, two u.s. military officers were shot to death. american officials say the burning of the books was inadvertent. in syria today, international relief workers made it to the besieged city of homs to
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evacuate some of the wounded. the syrian army continued to fire rockets and mortars, destroying house after house. human rights groups say 64 people were killed today while trying to escape the attacks. the one man who could stop the bloodbath is bashar al assad but the dictator seems to crush the year-old rebellion against him no matter what the rest of the world thinks. today the european union hit syria with new economic sanctions, but what about the u.s.? for that we turn to wyatt andrews in washington. wyatt? >> reporter: scott, the president has forcefully said assad must leave. the white house has even threatened unspecified additional measures if he does not. but when we sat down yesterday with secretary of state clinton she described the limits the united states faces as it tries to pressure assad out of office. how long does the killing go on before the additional measures you're talking about kick in?
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>> well, i think, wyatt, you have to be very clear-eyed about what is possible and what the consequences of anything you might wish to do could be. i am incredibly sympathetic to the calls that somebody do something. but it's also important to stop and ask what that is and who's going to do it and how capable anybody is of doing it. >> reporter: the u.s. has repeatedly said it's reluctant to arm the dissidents. why? >> first of all, we really don't know who it is that would be armed. this is not libya where you had a base of operations in benghazi, where you had people who were representing the entire opposition to libya. you could get your arms around what it is you're being asked to do and with whom. we don't have any clarity on that. >> reporter: but madam secretary, what's the fear? on the ground, what is the fear of arming the rebels? >> what are we going to arm them with and against what?
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you're not going to bring tanks over the borders of turkey, lebanon, and jordan. that's not going to happen. so maybe at the best you can smuggle in automatic weapons? where do you go? and to whom are you delivering them we know al qaeda, al- zawahiri, is supporting the opposition is n syria. are we supporting al qaeda in syria? hamas is now supporting the opposition. are we supporting hamas in syria? so i think, wyatt, despite the great pleas that we hear from those people who are being ruthlessly assaulted by assad, if you're a military planner or if you're a secretary of state and you're trying to figure out do you have the elements of an opposition that is actually viable, we don't see that. we see immense human suffering that is heartbreaking and a stain on the honor of those security forces who are doing it.
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>> reporter: last friday, the u.s. and arab states announced sanctions aimed at syrian business leaders mostly loyal to assad. the president has warned the u.s. won't be a bystander in syria but, scott, the hope is that assad gets tossed by his inner circle. >> pelley: wyatt, thank you. gasoline prices hit their highest level in nearly nine months. another italian cruise ship sails into trouble. and who's to blame for japan's nuclear disaster last year? what a new report says when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.
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>> pelley: in japan, a news helicopter gave us a close-up look at the nuclear plant crippled nearly a year ago by the devastating earthquake and tsunami. a report out today details the chaos among japan's leaders during that crisis, and lucy craft has more. >> reporter: in the hours after the tsunami struck the nuclear plant, japan's leaders were helpless and in disarray. that's the picture that emerges in a new report based on the testimony of people who witnessed it. tetsuro fukuyama was the prime minister's advisor. "the normal lines of authority completely collapsed" he told investigators. "we managed on an emergency mission basis huddled in an emergency bunker, japanese officials struggled to grasp the size of the catastrophe. as we listened to our top nuclear experts we politicians had no idea what they were talking about. would this be another chernobyl
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or three mile island? no one could give us a straight answer." after 300 interviews with officials and experts, the report pointed the finger at the plant's operator, tokyo electric. >> reporter: unprepared, says the report, for a power failure. and without electricity the cores of the reactors couldn't stay cool, triggering explosions and meltdowns. the report also blames the government's own regulators for failing to have an emergency plan if a magnitude nine earthquake struck. with only sketchy reports from the plant, the government began to fear the worst: a massive cloud of radiation would cover the entire tokyo region and force the evacuation of 30 million people.
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>> reporter: in desperation, the government discussed sending in what they called a suicide squad-- men over 65 years old to assess the damaged plant. fukuyama said he'd lead the team. "terrified doesn't begin to describe how we felt," he said. "months later when we learned the reactors had, in fact, melted down i was overwhelmed by our inability." a no-go zone around the plant remains in place. the radiation is still too high for residents to return and cleanup of the plant is forecast to take 40 years. lucy craft, cbs news, tokyo. >> pelley: the phone hacking scandal in britain takes a sharp turn. it could be bad news for rupert murdoch. next. [ alarm clock ringing ] [ female announcer ] if you have rheumatoid arthritis, can you start the day the way you want? can orencia help? [ woman ] i wanted to get up when i was ready, not my joints. [ female announcer ] could your "i want" become "i can"? talk to your doctor. orencia reduces many ra symptoms
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>> pelley: some of the busiest workers in america are those who are changing the price signs at gas stations. they're getting quite a workout. the national average is $3.72 a gallon, up 13 cents from just a week ago-- 24 cents a higher than a year ago. the italian cruise ship "costa allegra" is adrift after a generator fire off the coast of africa. more than a thousand people are on board in pirate-infested waters. this ship as the same owner as the "costa concordia" which ran aground off the coast of italy last month. the british phone-hacking scandal took a new turn today. the lead investigators said rupert murdoch's reporters and editors illegally paid hundreds
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>> pelley: as we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, law enforcement sources tell us the boy who allegedly shot his classmates in ohio today says he'd been bullied by some of those who were victims. bullying is part of the motive behind most school shootings. elaine quijano found a woman who is on a crusade to stop bullying one school at a time. >> you have to like yourself and love yourself for who you are no matter what anyone else says or does. >> reporter: 300 times a year, jodee blanco pleads with students to think about the consequences of their words and actions. >> to never give someone a chance, to never even try to get to know a person. that is bullying! >> reporter: on this day it was at the middle school in jackson, ohio. >> it's not just joking around. bullying damages you for life. >> reporter: blanco was a hollywood publicist, but she became an anti-bullying activist after the shooting at columbine high school in 1999.
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that tragedy got her thinking about her own experiences as a bullied students and the day she wanted to end it all. >> my weapon of choice wasn't a gun, it was a kitchen knife. >> reporter: her crusade is now in its 13th year. >> bullying is about kids needing compassion. and my perspective is that the bully and the victim are flip sides of the same coin. they both need to be treated with compassion. bullying isn't just the mean things that you do, it's all the nice things you never do. >> reporter: she relives the pain of her school years, even playing the role of her bullies. why is everybody laughing at me? what's wrong with me? >> reporter: the reaction is raw. >> you look around, you see people in tears. it's your friend, people you know, and they're in tears and you look around and you're like why am i not helping them? >> reporter: eight-grader kate
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says she now feels empowered to end the cycle of harassment. >> i think one of the most important things is taking steps to try and get rid of it or greatly decrease the problem because this is a ginormous problem. >> reporter: do you think bullying can ever be solved completely as a problem? >> i don't think bullying will ever be solved only because it's about the desperate need to fit in run amok. but if you're in a hole, i'm the guy who's going to crawl down there with you and get you out
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we want to bring some breakg news out of santa clara cou: these are live pictures from good evening. we want to bring you breaking news out of saint a clara county right now. it's an over turned tanker truck on southbound 280 near the wolf road exit. unclear exactly what liquid the tanker was carrying. however, chp has closed both of the right lanes and a hazmat screw on its way. it's going to be -- let's look at what that has done to the evening commute. backup on southbound 280 beginning just after paige mill road in palo alto. slow go for drivers heading to san jose. it was a multi-million dollar make overthat left an ugly mark on the juvenile jail. a sparkling new outdoor recreation yard that kids can


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